Cardboards

Truth is like an old man,
whom you’ve seen before,
with his ragged, filthy clothes,
Often alone, at the side street,
sitting on cardboards
and surrounded by plastics and sheets.

You feel like you want to help him,
but you can’t decide, instead
you pray someone else will,
As a way to redeem your conscience,
As a way to soothe your soul,
You close your eyes
while you try to breathe normally
and bite the tears,
The pain is gone but only temporary;

You see other people do the same,
You curse and condemn them,
You forget your own doings,
You forget your own ignorance.

Your conscience directs you and you depend on it,
But your heart is screaming out loud,
You lie to yourself, you become a mask,
A hideous one who pitifully cries
and scorns no one but itself.

The old man walks away
as he picks up
his cardboards
and coins,
You see his back, you stop crying,
You follow the old man with weak
but careful steps.

You finally approach the old man,
and the old man stays silent,
You speak to him with an awkward laugh,
asking ‘how do you do?’
The man remains quiet, and doesn’t show any move,
You talk to him until you are out of breath,
with polite gestures and random jest,
which you try to make them appear
as real as possible.

You laugh again, with sweats,
when the old man doesn’t say anything,
You murmur ‘sorry if I’ve offended you
in any way, I only wanted to talk’,
And every now and then,
the alley dims and blinks
thriftily, ruefully,
like a slow heartbeat.

You feel strange and you grow scared,
You don’t know what this fear is,
Yet you don’t move an inch to get away,
While the old man seems to drown
His head in his dreams of the sea.

You want to say something again but your mouth is dry,
You feel constrained as the crowd is getting bigger,
You cry ‘help’ desperately as you kneel down
and grab anything that is near.
You feel a rough feeling in your hand.
It’s something nostalgic
that belongs to the old man,
You don’t know what happened,
But –

The old man has fled,
leaving only the cardboards,
and scribbles written on them,
where they appear absurd
to the massive crowd
that forgets to see
the truth –

like the old man.

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